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China, FAO Strengthen South-South Cooperation on Sharing Agricultural Expertise

09 June 2016

CHINA - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Government of the People's Republic of China have announced plans to intensify their partnership in south-south cooperation activities and sharing of agricultural expertise.

After decades of successful collaboration, China and FAO have agreed to broaden the scope of their cooperation, building on their achievements to further promote rural development worldwide.

A new Memorandum of Understanding on the Strategic Cooperation on Agriculture and Food Security, agreed Saturday, will pave the way for this. The MoU will facilitate Chinese assistance to other countries through China's Belt and Road Initiative and further afield with other countries in Africa and Latin America.

"This comprehensive partnership between China and FAO opens the door for closer collaboration to work together on transboundary diseases, agricultural value chain development, innovative science and technology to combat climate change, and further development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)," said FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva.

The Director-General made the remarks following a meeting with China's Minister of Agriculture, Han Changfu.

Minister Han noted that the G20 Countries had just last week highlighted the importance of promoting ICT in agricultural applications and he looked forward to the Director-General's leadership in this area.

The new agreement between FAO and China aims to build on more than 40 years of collaboration between the two, which in recent years has delivered successful initiatives in South-South Cooperation for food security and nutrition. China has been one of the largest contributors to the SSC, both in financial terms and through sharing its own extensive experience, knowledge and technologies with other countries. For its part, FAO has provided technical support to more than 400 agricultural projects benefiting tens of millions of people across China.

China has much to offer the world

Signed in Xi'an, the historic starting point of the Silk Road that allowed silk, horses, gold and ideas to flow between East Asia and Europe, the new MoU will promote the complementarities between FAO's Strategic Programmes and Regional Initiatives and China's "Belt and Road Initiative", a vast infrastructure investment programme linking Asia and Europe and extending to Oceania and East Africa.

"China has much to offer to all developing countries in the world in terms of agriculture and food security," Graziano said, pointing to the example of an ancient farming system where farmers in Zhejiang Province combine rice farming with aquaculture, literally growing fish in their flooded paddy fields. The rice paddies offer protection and organic food for the fish. In return the fish soften the soil, provide nutrients and oxygen for the rice and consume insects and weeds that are harmful to the rice. The rice-fish system has been in existence for one-thousand years and was designated a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) by FAO.

"China's experience with GIAHS is remarkable and could be a source of inspiration to many countries," Graziano concluded.

Since 1990, China has successfully lifted 138 million people out of chronic hunger and reached the World Food Summit Goal, in addition to reaching the Millennium Development Goal of halving the prevalence of hunger ahead of the 2015 deadline.

There is a mutual understanding that the MoU will be beneficial not only for both parties, but also for many developing countries in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to reach the goal of zero hunger worldwide within this generation.

ThePigSite News Desk

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